Hand-Operated Impulse Sealers: Low-Cost and Portability

Hand-Operated Impulse Sealers: Low-Cost and Portability

Low-cost, portability and the ability to seal a wide variety of materials are three advantages of hand-operated or manual impulse sealers.

Hand-operated impulse sealers are inexpensive and portable machines used to seal polyethylene, polypropylene (poly bags), PVC, polyester, polycello films, humidity-proof cellophane film, aluminum foil coated bags or tubing with an airtight and watertight seal. They are used to seal products such as medical pouches, food and beverage products, gift items, and office supplies. They can also seal around oddly shaped products including boxes or large objects such as furniture. They can seal poly bags or other thermoplastic materials up to 40 inches wide, and up to 10 mm thick. Sizes range from 4 to 40 inches and approximately 6 to 20 packages can be sealed per minute. (Sealing rates over 20 packages per minute would require a semi-automatic or an automatic model).

Handheld impulse sealers use an electronic, adjustable, timing controller to generate short-term, synchronized and intermittent electrical pulses that energize a heating (nichrome) wire or strip embedded in the sealer to melt and fuse the materials together. Clamping the jaws of the sealer shut and pressing the start button initiates the sealing process. When the heating wire is de-energized, the cooling cycle is initiated and it is during this time period a solid, secure, airtight and watertight bond is formed. An indicator lamp or alarm will illuminate or sound, respectively, when the sealing process is completed and signals to the operator the jaws can be released and the material removed.

Cost often is the deciding factor when purchasing a packaging tool or equipment. But, while handheld impulse sealers are inexpensive (less than $50.00 for the basic models), matching it correctly to its use or application will determine whether it will serve its intended purpose. Small scale or infrequent sealing operations are the best fitting applications for these models. In addition, when the sealing of non-standard, irregular, or oddly shaped objects is required, handhelds also are a good fit. Conversely, high-speed packaging applications or situations of continuous use would not be a good application of these portable devices for two reasons: low sealing rates and worker ergonomic issues. Optional features such as clamp or scissors styles, built-in cutting blades, magnetic holding of the sealing arm for tubular material, ergonomic-pneumatic operation, and dual-or round-wire heating elements should be considered when fitting an impulse sealer to an application.

Hand-operated impulse sealers are low-maintenance devices. They require basic inspection and cleaning at regular intervals. The heating element or wire may need replacement as a result of wear and tear, generally, after several years of use. Replacement kits containing spare heating wires can be purchased from the manufacturer.

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